Raise your hand if you love lemon! I really have to think hard to see if I know anyone who doesn't like lemon and my Lemon Cupcakes Recipe will not disappoint. These are so full of lemon flavour, moist and delicious like a lemon loaf in cupcake form. They're topped with the lightest and EASIEST cream frosting that isn't too sweet at all and made without butter. Then I top it off with tangy lemon curd. You will love these!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Easy cupcake recipe - this recipe is super simple to make and you don't need a mixer.
- Fresh lemon - you'll need one lemon for the cupcake batter and another for the curd. The zest is used for the cakes and the juice is for the curd.
- Moist lemon cupcakes - these cupcakes are so super moist with a spongy texture. They aren't dry or crumbly. I love them!
- Tangy lemon curd- I use my Small Batch Lemon Curd recipe to whip up just enough lemon curd to top these off. It's so simple!
- Cream cheese frosting - this light-as-air whipped frosting is made with a bit of cream cheese. It's so fluffy and smooth and not too sweet.
INGREDIENTS FOR LEMON CUPCAKES
- All purpose flour - I used unbleached all-purpose flour for this recipe and it makes lovely moist cupcakes. You can also use cake flour or pastry flour if you prefer for a finer crumb.
- Unsalted butter - butter adds incredible flavour to these cupcakes. It is melted for the recipe, so no need to pull it from the fridge in advance.
- Oil - this recipe has butter AND oil. Although I love all-butter cakes, oil makes these cupcakes extra moist since it is liquid at room temperature.
- Lemon zest - This recipe requires 1 large lemon or 2 small ones. The lemon juice is used for the curd topping and the lemon zest provides majority of the wonderful lemon flavour in the cake batter itself.
- Pure vanilla extract - vanilla will elevate and complement the lemon flavour. I like this Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract.
- Sour cream - Use full fat sour cream or full fat plain yogurt to add tanginess to this recipe.
- Eggs - Two large eggs and an one yolk will add nice structure and help with the soft crumb in this lemon cupcakes recipe. The extra yolk helps to tenderize and also gives the crumb a nice rich yellow colour.
- Cream cheese - the topping is more of a whipped cream cheese as opposed to a sweet cream cheese frosting. It is so creamy and delicious - you MUST try it! Make sure the cream cheese is completely blended with the sugar smoothly with no lumps before adding the cream.
- Whipping cream - You will need heavy whipping cream with 35% milkfat to make the topping. The cream should be cold so that it whips up nicely.
- Small Batch Lemon Curd - my small batch lemon curd recipe makes just the perfect amount to top these cupcakes and is SO easy to make in one pot in less than 10 minutes! You can even make it several days in advance.
HOW TO MAKE LEMON CUPCAKES: STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS
This recipe is simple to prepare and you can make it with an electric hand mixer, although using a whisk with some vigorous beating will work too!
- STEP 1). Combine dry ingredients. Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda into a medium bowl. Add salt and half of the sugar and whisk to blend evenly.
- STEP 2). Combine wet ingredients. Combine melted butter, oil, lemon zest, eggs, yolk, vanilla and remaining half of the sugar in a bowl or jug and whisk until smooth.
- STEP 3). Add dry ingredients with liquid ingredients. Add half of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk gently. Mix in the milk, and then mix in the rest of the dry ingredient just until the batter is smooth. Try not to over-mix or it will lead to a tougher texture in the final cupcakes.
- STEP 4). BAKE. Spoon the batter into the lined muffin cups and bake for 18-22 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Transfer pan to a rack to cool 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to the rack to cool completely on the rack.
- STEP 5). Make the frosting. Beat cold cream cheese with sugar until smooth and glossy and there are no lumps. Slowly beat in just 2-3 tablespoons of cream to incorporate smoothly. Once it looks smooth and silky, start pouring in the rest of the cream while beating and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
- STEP 6). Decorate. Spread frosting over cooled cupcakes and top with a dollop of Small Batch Lemon Curd.
EXPERT BAKING TIPS
- Infuse the sugar with lemon flavour - to get the most out of your lemons, you can rub the sugar with the lemon zest first before beating with the butter and oil. The essential oils in the yellow zest will coat sugar crystals and carry all of that wonderful flavour through the batter!
- Do not reduce the sugar - the right amount of sugar will keep this lemon loaf soft.
- Sift the dry ingredients. In order to get a smooth batter and soft, light texture, it is important to break up any lumps in the flour and it will minimize the amount of mixing required to incorporate them.
- Do not over-mix. Just whisk in the flour gently until well combined, but no need to mix vigorously. Just mix until no streaks of dry flour remain.
- Do not over-bake. The cupcakes are ready when a skewer comes out clean and they spring back when pressed gently.
- Use cold cream cheese and cold cream. To make an extra fluffy topping, make sure both the cream cheese and cream are cold from the fridge. Also, it is absolutely important that you beat the cream cheese until completely smooth with the sugar before adding the cream. Add the cream very GRADUALLY so that it incorporates smoothly.
Can I freeze lemon cupcakes?
Yes! You can freeze the cupcakes without the topping in a resealable freezer bag for up to 3 months.
How do I store these lemon cupcakes?
Store these cupcakes in airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Can I use all butter to make this lemon cupcakes recipe?
Yes you can use all butter instead of a blend of butter and oil, however they will be firmer. I prefer using a fraction of oil to give them a softer texture.
If you love lemon, check out my other lemon recipes:Easy Creamy Lemon TartLight & Luscious Lemon CakeEasy Small Batch Lemon CurdEasy Almond Raspberry Lemon Bars (gluten free)Lemon Coconut Crumb Tarts
Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 ½ cups 215g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup 200g granulated sugar divided
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- ⅓ cup 80ml sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon 5ml pure vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup 160ml milk or light cream, at room temperature
- ½ block 125g cream cheese
- 3 tablespoon 42g granulated sugar
- 1 cup 237ml 35% whipping cream
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line 16 standard muffin cups with papers.
- Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda into a medium bowl. Add half of the sugar and all of the salt and whisk to blend evenly.
- In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, yolk, oil, remaining ½ cup of sugar, melted butter and lemon zest and vanilla until frothy. Add half of the flour mixture whisk gently. Whisk in half of the milk. Whisk in remaining flour followed by the rest of the milk. Do not over-mix.
- Spoon the batter into the lined muffin cups and divide it evenly. Bake for 18-22 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer pan to a rack to cool 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pan and let cool completely on a rack.
- For the frosting, beat cold cream cheese with sugar until smooth and glossy and there are no lumps. Slowly beat in just 2-3 tablespoons of cream to incorporate smoothly. Once it looks smooth and silky, start pouring in the rest of the cream while beating and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Spread frosting over cooled cupcakes and top with a dollop of Small Batch Lemon Curd.